WordPress Multisite Manage Plugins
More detailed information about WordPress plugins you can read in our WordPress plugins article.
Here we are going to show how you can manage plugins in Multisite network.
There are many similarities between managing users, themes and plugins in WordPress Multisite and these can be summarized in a few words – the network admin account with super admin privileges distributes the resources and other user's privileges in the network.
Only network admin can add new users (although it can enable site administrator to do it as well) and only the network admin can enable themes on the network.
There is no difference concerning plugin management.
We've deleted all plugins from our test multisite so we can start our tutorial from ground zero.
Click My Sites > Network Admin > Plugins:
Click Add New button on the Plugins screen:
In our tutorial we are going to use the famous Hello Dolly plugin so in the search field we enter hello.
Find the appropriate box and click Install Now button:
After few seconds the plugin is installed and another button Network Activate is available. If we click this button the plugin will be activated for all sites in the network. Leave it as is for now.
Click Plugins link again to return to Plugins screen.
On this screen all installed plugins will be listed.
Click Network Activate link:
About Hello Dolly Plugin
This is not just a plugin, it symbolizes the hope and enthusiasm of an entire generation summed up in two words sung most famously by Louis Armstrong.
This is, by the way, the world's first official WordPress Plugin. When enabled you will randomly see a lyric from Hello, Dolly in the upper right of your Administration Screens on every page.
Let's log out from super admin account multiadmin and login with site administrator account newadmin:
We see the plugin is activated, but we do not see any Plugin link in the left hand side menu:
Let us show you why.
Switch users and from the superadmin account click My Sites > Network Admin > Settings:
Scroll down to the bottom, mark the field in front of Plugins label and click Save Changes button:
Now the Plugins link is available and all site administrators have access to Plugins screen to manage their own plugins.
Click on Plugins link – the network activated plugin is not listed.
In Multisite all plugins, network activated by super admin are not visible in the Plugins screen of individual sites.
If you want any installed plugin to be managed by site administrator the must be deactivated from the super admin account:
Now site administrator can manage (activate) the plugin for this particular site.
These plugins are used by all sites on the entire network. They must be placed in a special directory
mu-plugins alongside the official plugins directory (
wp-content/plugins). These files are not activated or deactivated - if they exist, they are used. These plugins are hidden entirely from per-site plugin lists.
To demonstrate how Must-Use(MU) Plugins work we are creating a new folder
From plugins directory we copy
hello.php file into
Now we must deactivate and delete Hello Dolly plugin from the super admin account:
Now no matter which user is loged in and which site is active the MU Plugin is active and cannot be deactivated or deleted intentionally or by accident by any user.
The only way to deactivate MU Plugin is to delete it from
If a plugin is per-site activated it can be deleted from the super admin Plugins page and the next time you enter the site dashboard there will be an error message:
If a plugin is Network Activated it cannot be deleted:
until it is first deactivated:
Now the plugin can be deleted:
Multisite Plugins Summary
- Only super admin can install plugins
- Enable the Plugins page for individual site administrators from the Network Admin's Settings > Network Settings menu
- If a plugin is network activated it is enabled on all sites and is hidden from the per-site plugin lists.
- If a plugin is network deactivated its state can be toggled (activate/deactivate) by site administrator.
- If plugin file is placed in a special mu-plugins directory it is used by all sites in the network and cannot be managed by any user (super admin included).
#wordpress #multisite #plugins